When the SU executive is elected on March 7, it will be a group eager to get to work. Also on March 7, the provincial government will release its 2013 budget. Given the province’s projected multi-billion dollar deficit, it is likely to feature at least some spending cuts and structural changes. Post-secondary education is not protected from such cuts and changes. The province’s desire to direct research and teaching priorities at Alberta’s universities is going to create significant concerns for the student body, particularly given the University’s desire to shift away from undergraduate programmes and the Government’s desire to turn universities into drivers of economic growth.
Next year’s executives will be facing a tough provincial budget, and a university that could begin the process of undergoing major structural changes which could have a major impact on everything from a student’s educational aspirations to student life. As the campaign kicks off this morning, it will be interesting to see how the candidates plan to address these fiscal issues, issues which will affect a significant portion of students not just from the University of Alberta, but from every post-secondary institution across the province.